As part of the 2018 Literary Mews, PEN World Voices Festival and the Cave Canem Foundation present the recent publications of new works by three extraordinary Cave Canem poets. Pushcart Prize nominee Safia Elhillo‘s debut collection, The January Children (University of Nebraska Press, 2017), is described by Kwame Dawes as “a rich and complex body of work.” Newly appointed Indiana state poet laureate Adrian Matejka is the author of four poetry collections, most recently Map to the Stars (Penguin House, 2017), which Nikky Finney praises as “rich and ekphrastic.” Ife-Chudeni Oputa, celebrated as “an extraordinary new voice in the world of words and poems” by Gabrielle Calvocoressi, has recently published her debut collection, Rummage (Little A, 2017).
Safia Elhillo is the author of The January Children (University of Nebraska Press, 2017). Sudanese by way of Washington, D.C., she received a BA from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and an MFA in Poetry at The New School. Elhillo is a Pushcart Prize nominee, cowinner of the 2015 Brunel University African Poetry Prize, and winner of the 2016 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets. She has received fellowships from Cave Canem, The Conversation, and Crescendo Literary and The Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Incubator.
Adrian Matejka was born in Nuremberg, Germany and grew up in California and Indiana. He is a graduate of Indiana University and the MFA program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He is the author of The Devil’s Garden (Alice James Books, 2003) which won the New York / New England Award and Mixology (Penguin, 2009), a winner of the 2008 National Poetry Series. Mixology was also a finalist for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature. His third collection, The Big Smoke (Penguin, 2013), focuses on Jack Johnson, the first African American heavyweight champion of the world. The Big Smoke was awarded the 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was also a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award, 2014 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and 2014 Pulitzer Prize in poetry. His most recent book, Map to the Stars, was published by Penguin in 2017. Among Matejka’s other honors are the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award, the Julia Peterkin Award, a Pushcart Prize, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, and a Simon Fellowship from United States Artists. He teaches in the MFA program at Indiana University in Bloomington and is the Poet Laureate of Indiana.
Ife-Chudeni A. Oputa is completing an MFA in Poetry and an MA in African American and African Diaspora Studies at Indiana University–Bloomington. She is a Cave Canem, Callaloo, and Lambda Literary fellow. Her poetry and prose have appeared or are forthcoming in [PANK], Gabby, Some Call it Ballin’, Crab Orchard Review, and elsewhere.
This event is free and open to the public. If you would like to attend this event, please reserve a ticket here. Thank you!
New Works: Safia Elhillo, Adrian Matejka and Ife-Chudeni Oputa is co-presented with the NYU Creative Writing Program.